October is usually one of the year’s busiest months for Iowa One Call — the folks you contact before doing any digging in your yard. The service’s Ben Booth says many Iowans are starting to tackle their fall landscaping and planting projects. Booth says the wise ones will always call the toll-free number first, so the various utilities can mark off with spray paint or flags where underground lines are located.

Booth says “If you nail a natural gas line, it’s not going to automatically shut off. The flow of gas will continue until the utility people can route that or turn it off. Obviously, we know that electricity is not something that you want to get into and you’ve got buried electric lines as well.” Breaking a phone cable or fiber optics line could cut communications, including 9-1-1, for an entire community. In addition to the physical dangers, Booth says striking an underground cable could also be costly.

Booth says “Certainly it may cost you the repair and that could include the utility company coming out, excavating that facility, putting it back together and burying it and obviously that can become very expensive, especially with utilities like fiber optics.” He says homeowners are required by law to call Iowa One Call before digging.

Booth says call at least 48 hours prior to the proposed excavation, and that doesn’t include holidays or weekends. He suggests calling on Monday or Tuesday so the markings are all down well before you are ready to begin your weekend project. The number to call is 800-292-8989. Last year, the Davenport-based call center handled nearly 418-thousand calls for utility locates and coordinated nearly two-point-three million location requests with utilities.